U.S. House Rep. Jody Hice from Georgia’s 10th district spoke to University of Georgia students at the College Republicans’ meeting on Wednesday evening, Oct. 18. Hice discussed topics ranging from his political experience to struggles of bipartisanship in Congress.
Hice has been the Georgia 10th district representative since 2015 and currently serves on the House Oversight, Government Reform Committee, and the House Natural Resources Committee. Since January of this year, he has served as vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations for the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Hice started the meeting by thanking students for their involvement in his campaign by canvassing and making “tens of thousands” of phone calls.
Hice then addressed the struggles of bipartisanship in Congress and passing legislation as being a “very cumbersome process,” specifically noting the Senate’s 60-vote rule which requires 60 senators’ votes in favor of ending a debate in order to vote on a bill.
The dilemma for GOP politicians is that there are currently 52 Republican senators, leaving the party eight or more votes shy of those needed to end debate and pass any controversial legislation.
“The Senate right now is really, really struggling to do anything,” Hice said. “Democrats are just not cooperating. We have almost 300 bills sitting at the door of the Senate for [the senators] to do something, but they haven’t dealt with any of [the bills] yet.”
Another topic of the meeting was the proposed Fair Tax Act of 2017 which, Hice said, will likely make it through the U.S. House.
If passed, Hice said the bill will be “enormously productive in spurring our economy both domestically and globally” because it reduces corporate tax. He also said the tax reform would simplify taxes.
The topic of discussion then turned to the Republican’s attempts to pass new health care legislation to repeal Obamacare.
“The senate didn’t even consider [the American Health Care Act]. Instead, they tried to pass their ‘skinny repeal’ which was basically nothing. They couldn’t pass that. Then, [the GOP tried] the Graham-Cassidy bill, and they couldn’t pass that,” Hice said.
Hice said he believes Republicans may try to pass another form of health care bill with a reconciliation bill for next year's budget.
“What I think is going to happen is, next year, there will be another reconciliation opportunity, and I kinda think we’ll try to attach the health care [bill] for a second time,” Hice said.
Reconciliation legislation does not require Senate’s typical 60 votes to end debate, bypassing the filibuster and potentially allowing Senate Republicans to push the bill through without Democratic support.
Congress is typically limited to one reconciliation bill per year since there is only one budget, though multiple reconciliations are possible if multiple budget resolutions are passed.
An opposing opinion discussed was about reconciliation of a strong pro-life position with cuts to prenatal care and defunding of Planned Parenthood in the previous GOP health care bill.
Hice responded and said, “Planned Parenthood is an abortion industry.”
Hice ended the meeting by reaffirming Republicans’ success on Capitol Hill despite the “negativity” the media reports on, he said.
“We just added a million jobs in the last nine months. Unemployment is at a sixteen year low. Our borders are more secure. Our military is the strongest it’s been in years. There is a lot of positive stuff that is happening in spite of the innovation of negativity coming from some of the national news media,” Hice said.